Summary: What has God given to Christians and how does it impact life?
Last week we started our study of 1 Peter; please open your Bibles there….
We noted that this is a letter to encourage all Christians. Peter, an ordinary fisherman, was called, taught, and empowered by the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter’s call from Jesus was to strengthen Christians. As we prepare for celebrating our faith through Communion, let us be strengthened by God’s Word through Peter from 1 Peter 1:3-9, read along with me.…..
Let us note again that this letter was written for Believers of Christ. We can summarize this passage by looking at 4 simple questions for Christians: What has God given? How did it happen? What are the results? And, what are expected responses?
1. What are given to Christians?
v3: new birth
What does a new birth mean? Jesus used the same phrase when He told Nicodemus, who was a religious man, “You must be born again!” And of course, Nicodemus asked, “how can I go back to my mother’s womb?” Jesus replied, every person must be born of the spirit. And so, Christians are spiritually born!
Are you spiritually born? Biblically speaking, and it is the only thing which is true, you are really not a Christian if you’re not spiritually born! Do you really know the biblical truths of being a Christian? (note truth card…)
v3: continues that a Christian has a living hope!
Does this mean that Christians are to walk around saying “I hope for the best for me”? Many will say they are Christians but then they will say, “I hope I will go to heaven!” If you really think about it, this is a silly way of believing Jesus Christ when you’re not really sure if what He says is true. Jesus says you can know that you’re going to heaven! This is what we read in His own Words in the Bible!
Believe and live with the truths from Jesus! If Jesus says you will be in paradise, you will be in paradise!
Now, there is nothing wrong with walking around saying you are hopeful; but as we look deeper into this text, the original Greek word for hope here is elpizo which means being 100% sure! And so, what God is telling Christians here is that you can live with 100% sure (elpizo) you are with God and going to heaven!
And God affirms this with another promise in v4: inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade (kept in heaven); this of course was the promise from Jesus Christ before leaving earth; “My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”
And so, much has been given to Christians; and only to Christians. If you are not a Christian, you are still dead in your sins, hopeless life, and get nothing from God for eternity!
But a loving God does note leave anyone in the dark; God tells us how God gives.
How were these blessings given to Christians?
v3: through the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
If Jesus is still dead, how good are all His promises to His followers??
If Jesus is still in a grave, one would be crazy to follow Him!